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A cursory search of the best places to eat in Wilmington, North Carolina will most likely direct you straight to the River Front. 

But there is a lot more this city has to offer. Avoid the chain restaurants and enjoy the local flavors of Wilmington, from appetizers to desserts.

Here are some of the local favorites for best places to eat in Wilmington, NC:

Beer Barrio– Tacos and Craft Beer

34 N. Front St., Wilmington, NC

As a modern Mexican restaurant, the tacos are the stars of their menu. And, of course, it lives up to its name with 30 craft beers to choose from.

Le Catalan– French Café and Wine Bar

224 S. Water St., Wilmington, NC

Reminiscent of Parisian café’s, Le Catalan offers casual French cuisine and vino by the glass. Enjoy your meal in their quaint wine bar or on their riverside patio.

Ceviche’s– Panamanian

7210 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington, NC  

Raised in Panama, the owner and his wife bring authentic Panamanian food to Wilmington. The ceviche is clearly a must, but they’re also well-known for their tapas.

The Copper Penny– Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, and Beer

109 Chestnut St., Wilmington, NC

Located in historic downtown Wilmington, the atmosphere matches the history surrounding this small restaurant. A favorite place to get an appetizer and cold beer.

The Dixie Grill– Southern Diner

Every list of Good Eats needs to include a good old-fashioned diner. The Dixie Grill is the diner that makes the list for the best places to eat in Wilmington NC.

Dock Street Oyster Bar– Oysters, Seafood, and Tacos

12 Dock St. Wilmington, NC

Not exactly a well-kept secret, Dock Street Oyster Bar lures locals and tourists alike. For the last 20 years in a row, local diners have voted them Best Oysters in Wilmington.

Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn– Mexican

4002 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, NC

With the motto “Hot, Fast, Cheap, and Easy,” what’s not to love about Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn. A bit quirky and a lot delicious, Flaming Amy’s has been slinging burritos and other Mexican cuisines for twenty years.  

Fork N Cork– Gourmet Burger, Sandwiches, and Appetizers

122 Market St. Wilmington, NC

Fork N Cork is known for elevating simple cuisine to a whole new level of tastiness. Their menu items include Rattlesnake Bites, Hay Dios Mio , Duck Duck Goose, and Gravlax— is your curiosity making you salivate yet?

The Little Dipper– Sweet and Savory Fondue

138 S. Front St. Wilmington, NC

The Little Dipper offers a unique, interactive experience for their patrons. They brilliant pair meats, seafood, vegetables, and breads with homemade sauces and hot melted cheese. 

Peppered Cupcake– Gourmet Cupcakes

260 Racine Dr., Wilmington, NC

105 S. Front St., Wilmington NC

So good it needs two locations, the Peppered Cupcake is known for (you guessed it) peppered cupcakes. Their other delicious cupcake creations range from sweet to savory. 

Tandoori Bites– Indian

1620 South College Rd., Wilmington, NC

With lots of traditional and modern Indian food to choose from their menu, Tandoori Bites has become a local favorite. They also have a fantastic lunch buffet.

Wake n Bake– Donuts

This donut shop almost has as many awards as they do donuts. Winning the Donut Showdown on the Cooking Channel has boosted them to stardom, but they’re still serving the locals their favorite morning indulgence.

Winnie’s Tavern– Traditional Burgers

If you find yourself saying, “I just want a good burger,” then Winnie’s Tavern is the place to go. They have been serving good ol’ American cheeseburgers, fries, and onion rings since 1962.